If reputation points only reflect a user's knowledge in an area, why is it used as the sole basis to grant such privileges? How can you trust someone because he answered a number of questions correctly?

I've seen plenty of "high-reputation" users with very rude attitudes. Countless times closing legitimate questions, only because their buddy had a similar opinion. When is stackoverflow going to fix this flawed reputation system?

closed as off-topic by Aaron Bertrand, Hugo Dozois, Martijn Pieters, Flyk, user213963 Feb 9 '14 at 3:22

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  • This "flawed" rep system works relatively well. It's not perfect, but pretty good as these things go. What other system do you think would work out better? – Mat Feb 8 '14 at 14:25
  • Can you support your claim with some actual questions that show the rude attitudes and closing of legitimate questions? – rene Feb 8 '14 at 14:30
  • Do you have an idea for a better system? Or just wanted to vent? – Flexo Feb 8 '14 at 14:31
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    @Flexo He's just venting. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/220062/… – Mick MacCallum Feb 8 '14 at 14:31
  • Oh, when you question the validity of broken system, you're suddenly seen as an irrational venting person, and have your question downvoted. – user3140280 Feb 8 '14 at 14:33
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    The system isn't broken, your perception of it is. Having your question closed as a duplicate isn't a big deal, and your turning it into one, and your attitude about it is probably what you can blame for the down votes. – Mick MacCallum Feb 8 '14 at 14:34
  • Yes, it's not a big deal; however when done so because some kid decided to deliberately misinterpret my question, and have his buddies come and agree with him, then yes, that is an appalling behavior. – user3140280 Feb 8 '14 at 14:36
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    It is a fair point that moderation based privileges are given for subject level activity. It would be nice if moderation based activity gave rep too to balance this out. However subject level activity is the primary activity of the site and it is damn hard to reward moderation activity in a way that cannot be gamed – Richard Tingle Feb 8 '14 at 14:44
  • It certainly isn't easy, but it's not harder than the currently implemented system. Can't they just grant privileges based on a user's history of correctly identifying bad content and or correctly reporting/flagging such content, and only receive their privileges after they've made it in the list of potential future moderates, and have this decision voted for approval by human users? – user3140280 Feb 8 '14 at 14:47
  • Huh? So don't allow someone to vote to close until they've demonstrated a good track record of voting to close? I sense circular logic in your circular logic in your circular logic... – Aaron Bertrand Feb 8 '14 at 15:06
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    Uh, ok. Maybe be a member of the site for more than a few weeks before telling everyone that the whole system should be redesigned from the ground up based on the "problems" you've experienced in your limited experience here. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 8 '14 at 15:18
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    I don't think you have any interest in hearing any opinion other than your own. – Mick MacCallum Feb 8 '14 at 15:20
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    Interestingly I think I was the only one who was on your side. I have previously suggested something similar to this (but with a more defined alternative). But even I'm not sure what you want from this now. The only answer can be: we use this system because it's the best we could come up with – Richard Tingle Feb 8 '14 at 15:55
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    I expect that most people disagree with your statement that the reputation statement is flawed, or don't feel you've given enough objective evidence that there is any problem. Just seems like you're ranting because you think buddies get together to down-vote and close questions for no good reason. Your comment about the down-votes is just more evidence that you aren't familiar enough with the system to decide how it should be made better. Please read. – Aaron Bertrand Feb 8 '14 at 19:37
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    @Chris.. wow! Just because he/she does not get his/her own way - it won't work though - the content will win out – user246806 Feb 9 '14 at 2:01

Reputation is not a measure of subject matter knowledge. Knowing C++ or PHP or Java may be a requirement for getting a high reputation, but it's not enough. To earn a high reputation, you need:

  • time in which you are active on the site, reading and writing. (Reputation is capped per day, and while you don't have to be active to earn rep on old questions, most people earn their reputation from a number of different questions and answers spread across their time on the site.)
  • knowledge of what makes a good question and answer. Bad answers, especially, tend to be deleted by the community rather than edited, so to earn and keep a high rep you must know what makes a question or answer appropriate for the site.
  • knowledge of the tools and exposure to other people's actions, as well as audits in the review queues

Rudeness is never tolerated. You can flag rude comments and they will be removed. That said, voting to close a question is not in and of itself rude. It is also completely reversible. Understanding the system will make you happier. When you know why some questions are closed, you will know what to do to get them re-opened, or realize they are not right for SO, rather than believing people are just being mean for no reason.

  • Yes, I can flag rude comments, but will that have any effect on that user's authority? I certainly haven't seen that. They post their rude comments, they get deleted and then everything's good, then the cycle expands and repeats. – user3140280 Feb 8 '14 at 14:39
  • While people don't lose reputation for being rude, there are other mechanisms for getting through to people who are behaving against the norms of the community. This can remove privileges for a while. – Kate Gregory Feb 8 '14 at 14:43
  • 3 Weeks ago, for a week, I've seen him comment rudely on almost half of the questions I view. Probably most of them were deleted for being chatty or slightly rude, but he goes on without notice. – user3140280 Feb 8 '14 at 14:50
  • discussing individual people here is rarely a good plan. I didn't see any rude comments in that profile, so either they've been removed, you have a very sensitive "rude" detector, or (as I mentioned in the answer) you think voting to close is rude, which it isn't. – Kate Gregory Feb 8 '14 at 14:51
  • It certainly isn't, but voting incorrectly to close a valid question is a childish behavior. – user3140280 Feb 8 '14 at 14:52
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    When I started writing books, when copyeditors redid a sentence into something flat out wrong, I was angry with them. Eventually I learned that the reason they read the sentence wrong was because I didn't write it clearly enough. So I rewrote it to be clearer. I recommend this approach for your questions. Use the energy you're putting into irritation and put it into editing your questions to be clear. Not commenting, not meta, not tracking people you're mad at. – Kate Gregory Feb 8 '14 at 14:54
  • Can you take a look at it? stackoverflow.com/questions/21582702/… I edited that question several times and one of the users who downvoted it agreed that the question is clearer after the edits, but those other users still chose to continue with their decisions. I'm sure that even you(who defends the army of bug-ridden text processors) would agree that the question was incorrectly marked as duplicate. – user3140280 Feb 8 '14 at 14:57
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    A copyeditor is a human, not a bug-ridden text processor. And the people who vote to close on your questions are also humans. You might try keeping that in mind. – Kate Gregory Feb 8 '14 at 14:59

If reputation points only reflect a user's knowledge in an area, why is it used as the sole basis to grant such privileges?

It is a fair point that high level knowledge of a specific subject doesn't necessarily suggest that a user will do a good job of using the moderation tools they are given.

However, as flawed a system as it is it is hard to produce a better one. Consider the following points:

  • At present there is an element of "robo reviewing", using moderator tools as fast as possible to gain badges. This could be made even worse if something "more valuable" was given out.
  • People with high reputation have at least used the site extensively, so they know how things work to a high degree. So assuming no malice they'll probably have competence and do a job.
  • They have a high commitment to the site. They wouldn't have stayed this long is they didn't believe in the system. So assuming competence they'll probably have no malice and do a good job.
  • Subject level activity, asking and answering question, is the main focus of the site so the reputation focus should remain on these activities

It’s a flawed system, but it does work and it’s hard to think of a better system that couldn't be gamed.

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